Mountain-Size Fear

After a perfect day, driving through the mountains of Glacier National Park on “Going to the Sun Road”  (See “A Day in the Park”, we drove up to Babb on the east side of the park and then in to the small town of Many Glacier. Ron and I enjoyed lunch in an Alpine lodge while we reminisced

about seeing  bear, fox,  marmots, mountain goat, and deer in their natural forest and mountain settings. My heart was full! And now my tummy was, as well.

We left the restaurant to travel back to our RV Campground near Kalispell. There were two routes from which to choose:  One would be to travel back across the beautiful “Going to the Sun Road,” but we knew it would be slow-going, and we didn’t want to travel it as the sunshine lessened and darkness set in. The other route would take us around the southeast edge of the park – roads we had not yet traveled – to reach Highway 2 and our RV Camp near Kalispell. We chose the latter.

Neither Ron nor I had any idea what we were getting into when our GPS led us to a 12-mile stretch of road, Montana Highway 49, also known as Looking Glass Highway.

I hope to never see that road again!

Sure, “Going to the Sun Road” was frightening at times, but this stretch was, well . . . So. Much. Worse.

Traveler / writer of describes it as “twisty, bumpy, steep, narrow, and generally difficult to drive.”

Yeah, I’d say so.

He further writes that you gain elevation and “it’s one twist after another . . . is crazy dangerous . . . “ with “very little room for error, and no guard rails to protect you in some of the most critical places. Aside from the curves and narrowness, the road itself is in terrible condition . . . potholes and suspension straining dips . . .”

The traveler / writer goes on to conclude that the spectacular views are worth it.

Umm. Neither Ron nor I agree.

I’ve borrowed photos from the website to share with you in this post, as I could not bring myself to hold my phone to take even one pic. To fully envision this stretch of road, please picture dozens of hairpin curves such as the ones in the pic, each with no guard rail, no shoulder, but with immense drops to the valley below, directly beside you. Picture crosses placed on the edge of the mountain, along some of those hairpin curves, Montana’s commemoration of the loss of life along their highways. It was the most stressful 60 minutes (yes, 60 minutes to drive 12 miles) Ron and I have ever spent in a vehicle.

I’d never realized how much I loved the straight, boring lines of Highway 2 across North Dakota until the yellow highlighted route of my Rand McNally Road Atlas began taking on little snake-like patterns, occurring regularly now!  The route became especially frightening when those patterns were accompanied with the triangular markings of mountains nearby. It became a terrifying combination in my mind!

Suddenly, every day after that drive on Montana Highway 49, Looking Glass Highway, I fought a fear I hadn’t previously known: the fear of driving around curves with drop-off edges, often in windy areas, while pulling a travel trailer, and the fear was real each day thereafter, as we traveled otherwise beautiful stretches of road on this lengthy trip we were taking.

Do you remember reading about the prophet Elijah?  He was also frightened. The concept of Elijah being fearful puzzled me at first and continued to bewilder me in further study because he was a man who had witnessed the power of God and had performed miracles himself by that power. After all the demonstrations of God’s power, Elijah, nonetheless, was so frightened by the threats of Jezebel that he ran over 100 miles, where he collapsed under a broom tree. He then traveled another forty days and night to a cave at Mt. Horeb, where he hid. Why, I wondered, would a prophet of God be so frightened? Why didn’t he just stand up to Jezebel and proclaim the Word of God to her, as he had proclaimed to so many others? Whatever the reasons, I understood Elijah’s fatigue and fears. I had been raised with fears. My family called it worry. My mother, father, aunts, and uncles had perfected worrying. It wasn’t until later that I realized that worry although sometimes growing from godly concern, was typically nothing but fear. I too was adept at worrying! If my child was out of sight, and I sensed any possibility of danger, my mind could perceive the child dead and buried within seconds!  The slightest fever brought visions of mortal illness and suffering. If there was a place to hide from my fears, I would certainly flee to it.  Like Elijah. And I presume that is exactly what Elijah had done. His fleeing and hiding were all a part of the fear he was experiencing.

Now, it’s easy for us to look at Elijah and question how in the world he would be fearful.

And it might be easy for you to look at me – perhaps read my post –  and wonder the same!

One thing I know: Fear is from the enemy, so I need to fight it with the Word of God. When I become fearful, I need to speak the Word. I’ve written about fear in the past, as it’s something I’ve dealt with most of my life, and I’m sure many of you have, too. This is how Jesus has whispered to me about fear in the past. He has told me to guard my heart from fear.

Like He did with Elijah, God has demonstrated His power to me over and over throughout my life.

So why do I fear?

Like David the Psalmist, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken.”

So why do I fear?

The Bible tells me that God has not given me a spirit of fear. Instead, He has given me a spirit of power, and of love, and of a strong mind. I’m going to overcome that fear with power, love, and a strong mind. How? By guarding my heart and my mind. And by speaking the Word of God. Loud enough for the enemy to hear. (Proverbs 4:23, Philippians 4:6,7)

What fear are you fighting? Guard your heart with His Word!

Click here to read the next  travel Post #10b Have you ever held a bear claw in your lap?